Heritage and Culture
Michael Taylor jetfoils from Hong Kong to Macau to check out Casa de Tapas, a newly opened Spanish restaurant in Taipa Village, which Michael called home 20 years ago. He discovers that big changes have taken place.
Why fly all the way to Barcelona for contemporary Spanish cuisine when Casa de Tapas is just a one hour's jetfoil voyage from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong?
I missed the Grand Opening Party – and the dinners arranged for journalists – but that didn't stop Casa de Tapas from inviting me over for an intimate dinner to check the place out.
Before I get to the food, however, I want to talk about the venue. On a personal level, I was as interested in the venue as the food – perhaps a bit more so. I'm a heritage buff. I love old buildings, and I hate to see them go to waste.
So I couldn't wait to see what they had done with the old building that I had been told had been completely revamped. Would it pass muster? I'm probably a harsher critic when it comes to architecture than when it comes to food.
I lived in Macau for three years about two decades ago, and I spent the first two years housed in a non-descript two bedroom flat on the outskirts of Taipa Village.
In those days, there were still farms in Taipa. Other than the now defunct Hyatt Regency and the University of Macau, the tallest structure on the island was about eight stories high.
Every evening after dinner, I would stroll through the village and marvel at the potential.
There were a handful for Chinese and Portuguese restaurants, which I sometimes dined at.
They were housed in mostly dilapidated two and three story buildings, which were in dire need of a paint job.
Cheap signage didn't help.
There were also some shops selling wines and soft drinks, cookies and dried meats, junk food and odds and ends.
I always thought of Taipa Village as a tourist attraction waiting to happen.
Those crumbling old Portuguese style buildings had so much charm. What a waste, I thought. Why couldn't those lovely old buildings be spruced up and given a new lease on life?
It was, therefore, with tremendous satisfaction that I was to discover that someone has done just that!
It took a while to find the place, but when I finally did, I was VERY pleasantly surprised!
Casa de Tapas was housed in one of those lovely old houses, and it had been lovingingly renovated to a standard that I was truly not expecting.
Stylish Interior Spaces
From the graceful exterior to the lovely interior spaces – Casa de Tapas had been transformed into stylish venue that would NOT seem out of place in the classier quarters of Lisbon.
As for the interior spaces, each one of the three three floors had a different function - and a different theme. There was even a lovely outdoor roof garden for special events.
If you're into “run down charm”, which I'm not, you might be disappointed with what they've done to the space. But I'm not, so I wasn't.
Shabby chic is NOT my cup of tea!
So what about the food? I'll follow up tomorrow.
Casa de Tapas is located in Taipa Village at 9 Rua de Clerigos, Taipa, Macau. Telephone: (853) 2857-6626.
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